…And it was a good thing I went to the race! As we headed south to the course, the rain started to taper off. By the time we hit the registration table, there was no rain in sight and the roads were starting to dry. I met up with my teammate, and we did a brief warm-up. (Aside: I suck at warm ups for road races. I’m always on track when it comes to warming up before a mountain bike race or a cross race, but I can just never get myself together enough to organize a proper road race warm up. There is no deeply hidden secret here that only years of psychotherapy could uncover – I just am not that committed to road racing…)
So we rolled out and the pace began to pick up as we headed south into a strong crosswind. I hate the feeling of riding at an angle while going down a straight road. Today was all about working for my teammate, so I tried to block the wind as best I could. At the same time there were racers who clearly didn’t know how to maneuver through a crowd, and they made things quite interesting as they attempted to pass (one hugging the center line, one bumping another on the inside, one jumping on the gravel). In all the excitement my bike computer popped off, so I was left to guess distances for the rest of the race. Thankfully, I knew the course pretty well.
The top three racers made a break on some rolling hills and my teammate and I got caught out. From that point on we concentrated on dropping those who were with us, and giving an honest effort to pick anyone off that got dropped ahead. We were able to drop everyone else because they couldn’t keep up with us on the hills, but we weren’t able to catch anyone up the road. The rest of the race we traded off in the wind and kept looking ahead for the finish line and a fourth place tie, which did finally come at the top of a very large hill.
Overall, a nice day with a great teammate. We got to end the day with some 50-cent hot chocolate the local church ladies were selling, which warmed us up as we watched the rest of the fields roll in. First (and probably only) road race of the season in the books!